Saint Laurence

Ludlow, Shropshire Unitary Authority, Shropshire, England Add to Map
Memorials 18 added (39% photographed)

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Ludlow's recorded history begins in 1086 when the impressive castle was first developed. Ludlow Castle, on a hill overlooking the rivers Teme and Corve, was built as one of a line of castles along the Marches to keep out the Welsh. The castle was founded by the de Lacy family of Stanton Lacy, probably between 1086 and 1094, at that time occupying a much smaller area than it does now. A planned town was laid out at the castle gate very soon afterwards. Ludlow seems to have been taken from the existing parish of Stanton Lacy, the church which lies about three miles to the north-west.

The Parish Church of Saint Laurence, sometimes described as "the Cathedral of the Marches", has evolved over more than eight hundred years. During that period the church has played a central role in the life of Ludlow.

In 1999, Saint Laurence's was one of only 18 churches given a FIVE STAR rating by Simon Jenkins in England's Thousand Best Churches.

Though mostly rebuilt in the 15th century, parts of the present church date from an earlier rebuilding in 1199-1200. This replaces a Norman church, but the site had been a revered place since the Bronze Age when a burial mound was erected, later giving the prefix "lud" to the place name Ludlow.

in the 15th century, the wealthy guilds of Ludlow merchants lavished their wealth on the church and erected great family tombs within the new edifice they created. In the Chancel are a wonderful array of Memorials, most dating to the 16-17th centuries. Among the finest Memorials is that of Sir Robert Townshend (d. 1581) and Ambrosia Sydney (d. 1574). There is an ornately gilded Memorial to Sir Edmund Walter (d. 1592) and his wife Mary. Walter was a Justice, an official of the Council of the Marches who administered the Welsh Marches. Most are entombed in the catacombs below the Chancel with Memorials in the Chancel area.

The church has a cruciform plan, with a nave and chancel of equal length. Between them are two transepts and a huge bell tower, rising from the crossing. The church stands at the heart of the medieval town, with a large churchyard on the North side.

Saint Laurence, one of England's finest churches, is a member of the Greater Churches Group. Largely rebuilt in the fifteenth century in the soaring perpendicular style of the day, the church has features of the Norman, Early English, and Decorated periods, including the delightful hexagonal south porch. It protects a remarkable collection of artistic treasures, including good medieval and later stained-glass, well carved fifteenth century misericords and bench-ends, a fine series of Memorials and a superb Snetzler organ.

If you enjoy medieval churches, you will love The Parish Church of Saint Laurence in Ludlow.

~ Description compiled by Meredith Drew Trawick from many sources including an article by David Ross, Editor of the Britian Express


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  • Added: 26 Mar 2016
  • Find A Grave Cemetery: #2607920